Pumpkin roll in the Big Apple

Local cooking on Good Morning America

Story by Jordan Giffin

Healthy eating. Sounds easy, but is it? Angi Allender believes it is.

This past December, Allender was a fortunate winner of a holiday cooking contest that she found online, the 12 Days of Cooking Challenge.

I thought it looked promising so I entered both my pumpkin roll as well as my bread machine cinnamon rolls, she said. I didn't think anything else of it.

Allender, however, became one of five finalists to appear on the Good Morning America show after she was contacted by their staff. From Wednesday to Sunday, it was just a whirlwind of activity, she said. Prior to this exciting performance, Allender was also interviewed in her home by an ABC local affiliate.

Allender and several family members were then flown to New York to cook her pumpkin roll recipe for a live audience on December 6, 2010. She stayed in the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square after being picked up by a limo at the airport.

They had a sign with my name on it which was pretty cool, said Allender.

While on the set, Allender was fortunate enough to meet Halle Berry, Peter Yarrow and Paul Yookey from the band Peter Paul & Mary and Emeril Lagasse. Allender cooked with Emeril as part of her prize for being a finalist in the competition.

It was an exciting experience, she said. It was nice to have my family with me. They were a big help.

After this opportunity, Allender had the idea of a possible television show of her own that could air on the Food Network.

This show would attempt to reach the audience of teenagers to early college graduates that tends to just grab snack food rather than strive for healthy eating habits.

When I was a college freshman, it would have been nice to know about quick, easy, healthy meals, she said. College students shouldn't have to worry about freshman 15.

Allender was first given the idea because of the interest in cooking that her stepchildren showed when they and their friends would hold themed dinner parties.

It became a very fun, clean way of entertainment while they were cooking,she said. It first gave me the idea. Alice Phillips, a friend of Allender's, hosts the website allyskitchen.com where people can post video clips, or shorts as she refers to them, of recipes that people want to share with others.

Phillips, a participant on the show Master Chef, believes Allender's idea to be promising and has been encouraging Allender to begin by posting her clips on the website to get her idea out there. She thinks it's a great idea,Allender said.

While Allender still describes her idea as just that, an idea, she also says it's in the works.

Allender, however, does not want to be the star in the limelight. She would prefer to be the brains behind it and instead have kids cook on the show to make it relate more to her audience.

I would really like for it to happen, she said.

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